Blade and Buffy

Blade and Buffy are among the two most famous Vampire hunters across any medium. If you were to ask someone to name a couple of Vampire hunters, chances are it would be these two along with Van Helsing.

What a lot of people don’t know is that Blade’s comic book adventures were a big inspiration on Buffy and Angel. They weren’t the only influence of course. Buffy like everything else drew on many different sources to create something new, but still there is a lot of Blade in Buffy and in this article I am going to give a run down of specific examples of Blade’s influence on Buffy as well as general similarities between the two franchises.

Blade originally began as a side character in the Marvel comic book series Tomb of Dracula which we also be looking at here too. When asked to compare Angel to a comic book, Joss Whedon said that it was more like Batman and Tomb of Dracula than anything else, whilst in The Watchers Companion Volume 1 a companion piece to the first two seasons of Buffy, he said about his influences ” I read Tomb of Dracula a lot and I am a huge Blade fan“.

Rachel Van Helsing and Buffy Summers

Contrary to popular belief Buffy was NOT the first reversion of the classic image of the little blonde girl who gets torn apart by monsters in horror movies. Rachel Van Helsing who predated the Buffster by about 20 years was.

Rachel Van Helsing was obviously the descendant of the original Van Helsing. Despite her lineage she only became a Vampire hunter after her parents were killed by Dracula as a form of revenge against his now deceased archenemy. Rachel would later join Quincy Harkers band of Vampire hunters, eventually becoming his most skilled and dangerous Vampire Slayer.

Rachel would battle Dracula many times and helped to recruit others to Harkers group of Vampire hunters such as Taj Nital whose son had been turned into a Vampire by Dracula, and Drake the human descendant of Dracula who later became her lover. Sadly however their relationship would be strained due to Drake’s own feelings of inadequacy as a Vampire hunter.

Later after Harker finally managed to slay Dracula at the cost of his own life, Rachel and Drake would both quit being Vampire hunters. Sadly for Rachel, many years later she was turned into a Vampire by a resurrected Dracula who managed to catch her off guard. After becoming one of the undead she then became his servant and would be forced to help him battle against the X-Men.

During the battle she managed to regain control of herself once more and finally slew Dracula. After she had avenged herself she begged the X-Men to slay her before she gave in to her Vampiric urges and Wolverine sadly obliged, driving a stake through her heart just as the sun came up.

There are many strong similarities between Rachel and Buffy. First and foremost as already mentioned, both take the classic image in horror movies of the little blonde girl getting lured away and killed by monsters, and reverse it by making her a fierce Vampire killer that the monsters run away from.

Both are also the latest in a long line of Vampire hunters that stretches throughout the ages, with the Van Helsings having been Vampire hunters since before even Abraham Van Helsing. Buffy meanwhile is the Slayer, the one girl in all the world, gifted with the strength and skill to hunt the Vampires, the Demons and the forces of darkness. There have been Slayers since the time of early man and after each Slayer dies another girl somewhere around the world is called.

Buffy and Rachel also both have an older, stuffy, English mentor/father figure, Rupert Giles and Quincy Harker, who are also both members of a lineage of Vampire hunters too.

Rachel and Drake’s relationship also has parallels to Buffy and Riley’s in that in both cases we have a more traditionally, big, dashing man’s man type of hero who feels inadequate for not being able to keep up with his girlfriend, (who physically resembles the more traditional victim role of the little blonde girl) as a Vampire hunter.

Of the two similar characters, Buffy was the more accomplished, long lasting and the more iconic. Still it is worth noting that Rachel Van Helsing was one of the first female Vampire hunters and in many ways helped set the template for characters like Buffy.

Hannibal King, Blade and Angel

Tomb of Dracula introduced two characters who would go on to be a big inspiration for Angel and indeed many other good guy Vampire characters, Blade and Hannibal King.

Blade originally began as a supporting character in Tomb of Dracula, though he would later gain his own series and go on to guest star in many other Marvel comic titles over the years.

Blade’s real name is Eric Brooks and he was originally born in the United Kingdom in the 1920’s. His mother was a prostitute who was attacked by the Vampire Deacon Frost whilst she was pregnant with Blade.This resulted in the unborn baby having some Vampiric powers such as an extended life span (though not immortality), immunity to being turned into a Vampire, immunity to falling under the power of a Vampire and the ability to sense the undead regardless of how well they blended in. He was not an actual Vampire however.

That development came about in the 1994 Spider-Man the Animated Series. For his appearances on this series Blade’s origins were altered slightly. Here his father was a Vampire who fell in love with a human woman and the two had a child whilst she was still human that they later abandoned. This child named Eric was a half human, half Vampire creature with all of their powers, but none of their weaknesses, though he also had their inhuman thirst for blood too.

Living on the streets, Eric was found by a man named Whistler (voiced by Malcolm McDowell of A Clockwork Orange fame). Whistler was a Vampire hunter and seeing that Eric was different to the rest he took him in and helped him to control his thirst and use his powers to fight Vampires. Eric would become known as Blade. It was in this version that Blade would first be referred to as the Daywalker.

For the 1998 film the makers used aspects of Blade’s comic book and animated origins. Just like in the comic books his mother was bitten whilst she was pregnant by Deacon Frost which resulted in the baby gaining some Vampiric attributes. Like the animated series he is a Vampire/Human hybrid and has all of their powers whilst none of their weaknesses. He also has the same thirst for blood that they do.

Just like the animated series Blade was living on the streets before he was found by a Vampire hunter named Abraham Whistler (played here by Kris Kristofferson) who seeing that he was different took him in and trained him to become a Vampire hunter and to control his thirst.

After the success of Spider-Man and Blade then Blade in the comics would become a half Vampire, half human hybrid too when he was bitten by the pseudo Vampire Morbius (who was created through science rather than magic) which affected him in a different way to normal people and caused him to become a new type of Vampire hybrid that could walk in the day.

Hannibal King meanwhile was a private detective who was turned into a Vampire by Deacon Frost. King however managed to find a way to control his blood lust and used his Vampire powers to help people. He and Blade initially clashed as Blade mistook him for another Vampire, but eventually the two formed a strong friendship and would go on to battle Frost together as well as various other supernatural threats.

King later appeared in the movie Blade Trinity played by Ryan Reynolds, but that version had no similarities to his comic book counterpart in any way, shape or form.

Aspects of both Blade and King’s story arcs would be reflected in Angels. Again that’s not to say that Angel was in any way derivative of either characters but still you can see how they both did inspire him in certain ways.

In Buffy Angel much like Blade is a Vampire/human hybrid in that he is a Vampire that has been cursed with a human soul and so therefore has human emotions such as remorse and guilt that Vampires otherwise don’t feel.

Angel much like Blade spends many years living on the streets until he is approached by a Demon named Whistler! Whistler convinces Angel, the special, human Vampire to use his powers for good which eventually leads to Angel becoming a hero, fighting other Vampires, Demons etc. Angel much like Blade is looked on as a freak by other Vampires due to his more human nature and personality.

In his own series Angel becomes a Vampire detective just like King. Now there have been many Vampire detective characters over the years, King was actually the first ever Vampire detective character. Also some interesting parallels can be drawn between Angel and Gunn’s relationship and King and Blade’s. In both cases we have a character who lives on the streets and has a fanatical hatred of Vampires brought about in no small part because of the death of a woman close to both men (in Gunn’s case his sister, in Blade’s his girlfriend Glory, also the name of the main antagonist in season 5 of Buffy. An homage perhaps?) Both initially when coming into contact with a shy, quiet, reserved, tormented Vampire detective try and kill them, until they see that they are different to the others and form an unlikely partnership, and later friendship with them.

A lot of critics have often compared the character of Angel with Lestat from Anne Rice’s the Vampire Chronicles. There are some vague similarities sure, but ultimately I think that Blade and Hannibal King are really the precursors to the character more.

Angel along with Blade and Hannibal King really represented a merging of the Vampire and superhero genres. Ultimately I think it was this that gave Angel a much wider appeal as he wasn’t simply just another romantic Vampire, he was a charismatic superhero like Batman. Whilst obviously there was a romantic element to Angel so many of his most prominent story arc’s in his own show aren’t romantic at all such as his rivalry with Spike, the Shanshu prophecy, Wolfram and Hart’s plans to make him go evil again, his redemption of Faith and his final kamikaze attack on the circle of the Black Thorn.

Ultimately I see Angel rather than being a Lestat, Edward Cullen type of character, as being more of a modern day superhero, who happens to be a Vampire which is why I feel he owes more to King and Blade.

Whistler and Whistler

Both Buffy and Blade feature a character named Whistler who guides the main Vampire hero on the path towards heroism.

Whistler was not featured in the original Blade comics. He first appeared in Spider-Man the animated series and went on to appear in the later film trilogy starring Wesley Snipes.

In both versions Whistler is a Vampire hunter who finds Blade on the streets, takes him in, trains him both to use his powers to help people and fight other Vampires and to control his thirst for blood. In both versions he also becomes a mentor/father figure to Blade.

In Buffy a benevolent Demon named Whistler finds Angel living on the streets, and convinces him to use his powers to help people. He even introduces him to Buffy. Though Whistler was only in two episodes of the tv show, he is without doubt one of the key characters in the entire Buffy/Angel franchise as he was the one who put Angel on the path towards redemption. Angel even tells Whistler that he wants to be like him!

Whistler was originally intended to appear as the third main character in Angel the series alongside Angel and Cordelia Chase. Sadly Max Perlich who played Whistler was unavailable and so Doyle a character similar to Whistler, a benevolent Demon who works for the Powers that Be, serves as Angels guide in LA, was created to take his place.

Max Perlich expressed some regret over this saying that he would have loved to have worked with Joss Whedon and David Boreanaz again, but had he accepted then the parallels between Angel and Blade would have been even stronger.

Both the Blade film series and the Angel television series would have revolved around a special, more human Vampire, shunned by the rest of its kind that constantly has to try and control its bloodlust, fighting other Vampires and monsters, whilst working alongside a man named Whistler who was the one who found them in the gutter and convinced them to be a hero and who now serves as a guide to them.

Of course its worth noting that other than their names and respective roles of finding the special, human Vampire then there are no similarities between the two Whistlers in terms of characterisation.

The Buffy Whistler is more of a sarcastic, jokey, younger character with an eye for the ladies (personality traits that would later be transferred into Doyle)

The Blade Whistler meanwhile in Spider-Man is a more refined, serious, cerebral character whilst in the Blade film series he is an old, drunken, embittered character.

Both versions of the Blade Whistler were human whilst the Buffy version was a Demon (though he still looked completely human)

Still these differences aside I think its safe to say that the Whistler in Buffy was a similar character to if not closely inspired by the Whistler in Blade as both ultimately fulfilled the same role.

Turok Han (Uber Vampire) and The Reapers

Blade 2 and Buffy season 7 both featured a fascinating concept of there being a second more powerful and dangerous race of Vampires that regular Vampires fear, the Reapers in Blade’s case and the Turok Han in Buffy’s. Blade 2 predated Buffy season 7 by a couple of months.

The Reapers were an attempt to create the ultimate Vampire by the leader of the Vampire nation, Damaskinos. Unfortunately the first of these super Vampires named Nomak escaped. Nomak had the ability to feed on the blood of regular Vampires and turn them into creatures like him called The Reapers. Nomak decided to create more Reapers to wipe out the regular Vampires whom he despised for making him into the monster he was.

The Reapers apart from Nomak are all as single minded as animals. They are far stronger, faster and more agile than regular Vamps and are immune to certain Vampire weaknesses. They can not be harmed by garlic, and though a stake through the heart can kill them, they have a thick bone over their heart which makes staking very difficult. Sunlight and UV lights will destroy them just as easily as it will regular Vamps.

The Reapers also have a hideous three way, leech like jaw.

Blade teams up with a group of Vampires called the Blood pack to take out the Reapers who threaten to exterminate both humans (whom they still feed on as well) and regular Vampires.

In Buffy season 7 we are introduced to the Turok Han, described by Giles as being to Vampires what Neanderthals are to humans, an entirely separate, but closely related race.

Turok Han Vampires are as single minded as animals. They are far stronger and faster than regular Vampires and are immune to many Vampire weaknesses. Crosses have no effect on Turok Han, holy water only produces minor burns, whilst they do not need an invitation to enter a house. They also like the Reapers have thick chests which makes it difficult, but not impossible to stake them.

The Turok Han do not feed on regular Vampires however, but Giles still does describe them as being the Vampires that Vampires fear and the first Turok Han is shown to take a particular pleasure in torturing the regular Vampire Spike who it holds captive.

The Turok Han make their first proper appearance in the episode Bring on the Night where one is freed by the First Evil to slaughter the potential slayers as well as break Spike, a reformed Vampire into joining the First. The Turok Han is shown to be far more powerful than even the Slayer as it very nearly kills Buffy herself who is forced to use every single resource to kill the Demon.

Later in the series it is revealed that the First has an army of 100’s of thousands of Turok Han Vampires waiting to be unleashed on the world. The final ever episode of Buffy sees her and her friends wage war on the monsters in the Hellmouth.

The Turok Han and the Reapers are basically the same idea, with the only difference being that the Turok Han don’t actively feed on regular Vampires. Still they are basically the same in every other way. Even in terms of appearance, they both basically look like Nosferatu on steroids

The Reapers and the Turok Han were such a brilliant, yet such a simple idea. What do Vampires fear? What are the monsters that keep monsters awake at night?


“I’ll show you what a real Vampire looks like.”

Of the two of them the Reapers are probably more famous as their 3 way leech like jaw has become imitable in popular culture. A Halloween episode of the Simpsons which featured many classic movie monsters from Godzilla to the Cyclops from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad featured Homer briefly becoming a Reaper.

Still both were terrifying monsters nonetheless.

Though the Turok Han were undermined greatly in their final episode, the first Turok Han is still nevertheless one of the most effective villains in the entire series for me. When it faces Buffy its one of the few times that I genuinely felt there was nothing that she could do against a monster.

There are many instances where Buffy is an under dog in her battles against evil. Indeed apart from the second season, all of the big bad’s she faces are far more powerful than her.

Still in spite of this Buffy usually remains calm and cool in a fight regardless of how unstoppable her foe seems.

When Buffy faces the Mayor for instance in their final battle, even though he is a 100 foot tall snake that could eat her in a single bite, she still keeps her cool, she even taunts him and manages to lure him into Sunnydale High where he is destroyed.

With the Turok Han however in her first two battles with the Demon, Buffy looks genuinely terrified and helpless. She doesn’t even try and fight it, more just runs away! Only the most horrifying and dangerous villains in the series such as The Master, Glory and Caleb, were able to make the Slayer seem like a genuine damsel in distress and thus I would rank the first Turok Han along with the likes of Glory and The Master as being among Buffy’s most frightening enemies.

They are called Uber Vampires for a reason. You wont catch these guys starring in crappy, teen romance novels.

I had always hoped that the idea of a second race of more powerful, feral Vampires would become a classic Vampire trope after the popularity of Blade and Buffy. Many pieces of Vampire and supernatural fiction reuse a lot of the same tropes and characters, such as Vampires vs Werewolves, the brooding, love struck good guy Vampire, the Vampire hunter who goes insane after his loved ones are killed by them and ends up becoming a villain, not caring if the Vampires or monsters he hunts are reformed or not, and even being possibly prepared to kill innocent people if need be, such as Holtz from Angel, Gordon Walker from Supernatural or Kemp from Being Human.

I was really hoping that similarly we would see Uber Vampires, the second, more powerful, feral race of Vampires start popping up in other supernatural themed series, but sadly no one has used the idea since Buffy and Blade. Shame as it really is a brilliant idea and I’d have loved to have seen Sam and Dean take on some Uber Vamps (which might have made up for the regular Vampires in Supernatural being so whiny!) Still the Turok Han and the Reapers were both effective villains overall.

Quincy Harker and Rupert Giles

Both Quincy Harker and Rupert Giles fulfil a somewhat similar role of being the older, English, stuffy, mentor to the young, blonde, female Vampire slayer who is still very dangerous and capable of holding his own in a fight.

Other than that superficial similarity however I must admit there aren’t really any parallels that can be drawn between those two characters. The idea of an older Vampire or Demon hunter serving as a mentor is an idea that has popped up many times such as with Bobby Singer to the Winchesters.

Its worth noting as a small parallel between both shows but ultimately the two characters don’t really share any strong characteristics.

Pearl and Balthazar

A more minor similarity as both are relatively minor characters (though both sort of play a big role in both franchises as it was Pearl who translated the scripture which Frost later used to summon the blood god, whilst it was while battling Balthazar’s forces that Faith killed a man which ended up making her go rogue).

Visually Pearl and Balthazar are almost identical. They are both morbidly obese, bald and naked and they also both die in a similar fashion in that they are both fried.

Though again in terms of characterisation they are complete opposites. Balthazar is a loud, aggressive, shouting bully who is actually quite powerful and nearly kills Angel, whilst Pearl is hilariously inept, cowardly and incompetent.

Their death scenes are also very different despite the similar way they are both dispatched. Balthazar dies with dignity, laughing at his enemies and telling them that when the Mayor rises they will wish he had killed them all whilst Pearl dies a pitiful death, whimpering and pleading and sobbing.

Still visually they are fairly similar and Balthazar’s look may have been an homage to Pearl’s.


As you can see there are a few strong similarities between Blade and Buffy. Again it would be unfair to call Buffy or Angel rip off’s of Blade and Tomb of Dracula, but at the same time I think its fair to say that the Blade franchise was among the biggest influences on Buffy and Angel.

Both also tended to cover the same ground too as both were really a merging of the Vampire and superhero genres, with comic books such as the X-Men being among the other key influences on Buffy (Buffy’s surname is even taken from the X-Man Cyclops, Scott Summers) whilst Blade was always a traditional superhero in a supernatural setting.

Thus its not surprising that they may have explored similar ideas and concepts even if they weren’t always inspired by one another.

I’d definitely recommend Blade to a Buffy fan or Buffy to a Blade fan as I think they have more in common with each other than other pieces of Vampire fiction.

Both revolve around evil, monstrous Vampires, who plan to exterminate humanity, and who are regularly, even gruesomely killed without any moral ambiguity, both feature supernatural heroes who embody classic superhero tropes, both regularly feature elaborate, over the top action sequences, both are set in modern day, contemporary big cities with a supernatural menace lurking beneath.

You are probably not going to see scenes like these in The Vampire Diaries and Twilight!

Buffy at the end of the day obviously has its own identity and is probably the most important piece of Vampire fiction of the last 30 years, but still when looking at its influences as well as comparable franchises then I think Blade is an important one to mention, and is one that Joss Whedon himself has always acknowledged too.

Thanks for reading.

Top 10 Vampire Hunters

Stories about Vampire hunters have in many ways always interested me more than stories that centre on the Vampires themselves. I generally tend to prefer my Vampires to be evil, bloodthirsty, vicious monsters and so naturally something that’s about people who kill them is going to portray them that way, rather than as misunderstood, sympathetic victims.

Added to that the Vampire hunter, someone who knows about these monsters lurking in the shadows, secret from the rest of humanity, who devotes their entire existence to fighting unnatural creatures, is cut off from the rest of human world, simply because they know the truth is a fascinating character in their own right.

In this article I am going to run through my 10 favourite Vampire hunters. I will not be including Vampire hunters who are actually Vampires or monsters themselves such as Angel, Blade or Spike. I feel they deserve their own category and so instead I will simply be looking at human characters who kill Vampires.

So without any further delay then lets look at the 10 most kick ass killers of the undead.

10/ Peter Vincent (Fright Night)

Played by the late great Roddy McDowell (in what was one of his favourite roles) this character was named after the horror actors Peter Cushing and Vincent Price, though he was really more based on Peter Cushing who was best known for playing Van Helsing.

Vincent is as a washed up horror star who hosts a late night tv series about horror movies called Fright Night. He is soon forced to deal with a real Vampire named Jerry Daindridge when a fan of his called Charley Brewster, who is Jerry’s neighbour, comes to Peter for help.

It was a fairly original idea at the time of someone who was only a horror actor being forced to deal with a real supernatural creature, and one that we would later see replicated in other cult films such as My Name is Bruce or How I Survived a Zombie Appocalpyse.

Though Peter starts out as a complete coward eventually he overcomes his fear and helps Charlie slay Jerry and save his girlfriend. I always liked Vincent not just because he was funny but because he was a very human character. He certainly wasn’t a classical, dashing hero. At times he was selfish, greedy, and cowardly, yet at the end of the day he does do the right thing and helps to slay the evil demon.

I felt he was a more believable hero in some ways who always remained likable even in spite of his faults, and Roddy McDowell was truly excellent in the role. He managed to find the right balance of adding plenty of humour, yet some pathos to the character who in some ways was quite a sad lonely person longing for the days when he was relevant.

McDowell would go on to reprise his role in one sequel to the original which saw Vincent go up against Jerry’s Vampiric sister Regina. Sadly the sequel was not quite as strong as the original, but it was still a fairly enjoyable horror flick overall. My only problem with it really was that it was essentially just the same story as the first film again but with a Vampire going after Charley rather than his girlfriend.

The character of Vincent would return in a 2011 remake where he was played by former Doctor Who David Tennant. This version of Peter was actually shown to know about Vampires and had an extensive knowledge of them. He still didn’t hunt them however as he was a miserable coward, though by the end of the film much like the original he faces his fear and helps Charlie slay Jerry. Its quite a nice twist to have a character know about Vampires and be interested in studying them, yet not actively hunt them, and David Tennant puts in a good performance, but overall the definitive Peter Vincent will always be Roddy McDowell to me.

9/ Gordon Walker (Supernatural)

The Vampire hunter isn’t always the good guy as seen with Gordon Walker who is in Dean Winchesters words “a sadistic bastard”.

Gordon began hunting Vampires when his beloved sister was abducted and turned into one of the undead. Gordon apparently later tracked her down and killed her and in his own words didn’t blink once as he knew it wasn’t his sister anymore.

Gordon later earned a fearsome reputation among both Vampires and hunters with Ellen Harville describing him as a good hunter the same way that Hannibal Lecter is a good psychiatrist.

Despite this when he first meets Dean, Dean ends up taking a shine to him after they kill a Vampire together, but he soon sees him for what he truly is when Gordon captures a friendly, reformed Vampire named Lenore and begins to brutally torture her.

Later Gordon after finding out from a Demon that Sam is destined to be the vessel for Lucifer himself tries to kill him leading to more confrontations with the Winchesters.

He is later captured after another showdown with Sam and Dean by a Vampire named Dixon who turns him into one of his own kind as a punishment for the Vampires he has killed.

After becoming the very thing he hates the most Gordon still tries to kill Sam and Dean for the greater good of humanity but is ultimately killed by Sam in a final showdown when Sam takes his head off with a piece of barbed wire.

Gordon to me was an excellent character. He was undoubtedly a villain, but at the same time you could understand where he was coming from. Ultimately he was right about Sam being the Anti Christ. Sam later frees the Devil himself! Unintentionally of course, but still he did kind of kick of armaggedon and whilst they managed to stop the Devil, pretty much all of the shit that’s happened since has been fallout from the Devil getting free.

At the end of the day if Gordon had killed Sam just think of how many people would still be alive today.

However the best thing about Gordon is his ultimate fate of being turned into a Vampire. Its horrible the way that Gordon is completely aware of how evil he has become, yet is completely unable to control his Vampiric urges and ends up turning a young girl into a Vampire and tearing his best friends heart out with his bare hands!

Worse than that however is the way that as a Vampire his soul will be condemned to purgatory forever. In Supernatural supernatural creatures souls do not go to either heaven or hell. Instead they go to purgatory, which is an endless forest, where they are forced to hunt each other forever.

Thus Gordon will now be forced to roam those endless woods as the very thing that he hates the most, hunting, killing other monsters and being killed by other monsters only to be reborn again and again for all eternity.

He’ll also no doubt have to face the Vampires he killed as well as his sister again. I always loved this aspect of Supernatural lore as it was just so viciously cruel that the people who became monsters were truly damned for all eternity. In other works of fiction when someone who is a monster is killed their soul is normally released but here they are condemned to live in a place worse than hell regardless of whether they were a good person or not.

Even if they were a good person in life before becoming a monster or even if as a monster they never killed anyone and found a way to control their urges. Thus Gordon is condemned to the worst fate possible. As bad as he is you can’t help but feel bad for him as he is definitely the most tragic character in the entire series.

8/ Rupert Giles (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Okay I know what you are thinking Giles is really more of a book guy than a Vampire hunter, but still he has killed more than his fair share of Vampires over the course of the series. He’s chopped their heads off, burned them, he even killed a Vampire with a twig!

Giles was always I’d say my fourth favourite character in the Buffyverse after Spike (1), Faith (2) and Angel (3).

I always liked Giles because he was like a modern day version of Peter Cushing as Van Helsing or Jon Pertwee’s version of the Doctor in that he at first glance he didn’t seem that dangerous. He was much older, stuffy, posh, refined, wore tweed jackets, but underneath the fuddy duddy exterior he was someone that actually you really did not want to mess with.

Giles was responsible for killing and foiling some of the most dangerous villains of the series.

His most notable accomplishments include the following.

He broke the spell of a powerful witch who had given Buffy a magical terminal illness.

He fought off an old one with an axe.

He set fire to the warehouse of Angelus one of the most dangerous Vampires of all time and savagely beat the Vampire to a bloody pulp with a flaming baseball bat.

He withstood torture from Angelus the most sadistic Vampire and didn’t break after hours. Angelus was eventually forced to use illusions of Jenny to trick him.

In an episode called The Wish, Cordelia unknowingly makes a wish to a Vengeance Demon called Anyanka that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. As a result of this the Master rose and took over Sunnydale. Most of the population of Sunnydale are either turned into Vampires (including Xander and Willow), horribly killed, kept in cages and tortured, Angel is kept in a cage and tortured every day by Willow who calls him her puppy,  Cordelia is also horribly killed and when Buffy shows up she too is later killed by the Master who snaps her neck like a twig. Giles however figures out what has happened, summons Anyanka, steals her necklace which is her power source and smashes it returning everything back to how it was, and ridding the world of a powerful demon Anyanka too. Had it not been for Giles all of the main cast would be dead.

He blew up the Mayor a 100 foot long snake.

He came up with the spell and the plan that killed Adam the main villain of the 4th series.

He broke one of Glory’s most loyal Demon minions in seconds by whispering something in his ear so horrible that he would rather betray Glory a Hell Goddess than not tell Giles what he wanted!

He technically killed Glory a god with his bare hands when she morphed back into Ben a human by smothering him to death with his hands.

He faced Willow the most powerful witch in the series, granted he was given power by other witches but still.

Giles may not have been the most powerful character in Buffy but he was still a serious badass nonetheless and so I feel he deserves a place on any best Vampire hunters list.

7/ Jack Crow (Vampires)

The star of John Carpenters somewhat underrated gore fest of a Vampire film. Jack Crow was played by James Woods and is really, really nasty guy. He isn’t an out and out villain, but he isn’t exactly a knight in shining armour either.

The character fits the violent, bleak tone of the film. Jack is someone who lives a hellish existence on the road, fighting with the most vicious and brutal Vampires and so naturally he is a pretty moody and unhappy guy.

Woods really holds nothing back in his performance and makes Crow every bit as vicious as the Vampires he kills. There is nothing he isn’t prepared to do from torturing priests to beating up women. Even his own team mates aren’t so keen on him. He is a true anti hero in every sense of the word and definitely deserves more recognition.

6/ Faith Lehane (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Someone who would be too wild even for Jack Crow’s team of Vampire hunters, Faith is an all around excellent character who goes from an unstable wild card to an outright villain, to a tragic mess to a reformed hero.

The role made a star out of Eliza Dushku who would go on to star in two more genre series Dollhouse and Tru Calling, though she will always probably be the most remembered for Faith.

Eliza was absolutely sensational as Faith. She was sexy, badass, frightening, tragic and cool all at the same time. The great thing about Faith was even at her worst she was never evil. Just someone who couldn’t own up to her mistakes. When she killed someone rather than admit what she did she just ended up digging herself into a bigger hole to the point where there is seemingly no way for her to return. Of course ultimately it was Angel that ended up helping her to reform which later led to her saving him when he became Angelus in a nice twist.

Though Faith was a fully fledged hero who helped save the day by the end of her time in Buffy sadly Eliza Dushku turned down the chance to star in her own series. Joss Whedon had intended for there to be a spin off about Spike and Faith travelling the world together but Eliza was busy with Tru Calling so Spike crossed over into Angel. I would have LOVED a Spike and Faith spin off as they were by far my two favourite characters and I really wished they had gone back to it after Angel finished, but sadly it was not meant to be.

Still Faith’s time on both shows is enough to establish her as one of the most badass Vampire killers of all time.

5/ Captain Kronos (Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter)

From Hammer’s underrated classic, Kronos is a swashbuckling hero whose family were killed by Vampires and who travels the world avenging them.

It is established that there are many different breeds of Vampire in Kronos and often when hunting them he will have to try all the different options of killing them before he finds the one that works. One scene sees him hand a Vampire, stake him and even try and burn him before he discovers how to kill him.

Whilst Kronos had more of a straight forward personality than some of the others on this list the idea of a swashbuckling hero fighting various different types of Vampire around the world was an inspired idea and its a shame that it wasn’t expanded on.

4/ Rachel Van Helsing (Tomb of Dracula)

In much the same way as Cushing’s Van Helsing set the template for the later more cerebral, posh English Vampire hunter like Rupert Giles then Rachel was really the one set the template for the feisty, female ass kicking Vampire hunters like Buffy.

Rachel was the descendant of the original Van Helsing who battled Dracula in the 1970’s in Marvels Tomb of Dracula which Joss Whedon himself has cited as one of his biggest influences on both Buffy and Angel.

Though not quite as interesting a character as the later Buffy and Faith, Rachel nevertheless was a fairly original idea back in the 70’s of a more physical, female Vampire hunter.

Sadly Rachel remains relatively obscure even to this day, though the character of Abigail Whistler in Blade Trinity was based off of her.

3/ Mr Vampire/ Master Kau (Mr Vampire Film Series)

Played by the late Lam Ching Ying, Master Kau or Mr Vampire as he was nicknamed was a taoist priest who used magical spells and enchantments to ward off demons, ghosts and Vampires.

He appeared in his own film series as well as a crossover film series which saw him team up with Sammo Hung’s demon fighter from Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind who is simply nicknamed the fat man.

The Mr Vampire film series naturally incorporated Chinese mythology and thus its Vampires were somewhat different to those we see in Western movies. They were single minded as animals, can’t speak, can only roar, can only really be killed by magic (though they don’t like the sun) and are hideously ugly as well as have virtually limitless strength, though one film in the series Vampire vs Vampire sees Mr Vampire take on a more European Vampire.

The Mr Vampire films are criminally underrated here in the west. Lam Ching Ying was one of the best action stars there has ever been. The fight scenes are very creative, often a great mix of stunning visuals and dark humour.

If you haven’t seen any of these films then you should check them out. There are 5 Mr Vampire films, 2 Crossover films, Spooky Encounters and The Dead and the Deadly,  Vampire vs Vampire and Magic Cop. There is also a remake trilogy called New Mr Vampire and a Mr Vampire tv series too though sadly I have not yet had a chance to view this. I’d say my favourites are the first two Mr Vampire films and Vampire vs Vampire, though they are all entertaining in their own way.

Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

One of the most iconic fictional characters of all time, Buffy Summers is Joss Whedon’s most enduring creation and was really in many ways the perfect superhero in that she always felt like a real believable character regardless of how larger than life the situations she was in where.

Buffy is the chosen one, the one girl in all the world gifted with the strength and skill to hunt the Vampires, the Demons and the forces of darkness. Over the course of her own series she saves the world about 10 times, the entire multiverse once, and kills literally hundreds of Vampires, Demons, Zombies, even hellgods!

Sarah Michelle Gellar who played the role for 7 years was excellent as the character. The character of Buffy I think was a very hard part to get right as she was someone who needed to seem quite sensitive and vulnerable at certain points, more so than even your average hero, as that was part of her appeal that she made mistakes and didn’t always have the answers, yet obviously she still had to seem strong enough to be believable as a hero too.

I think Sarah always excelled as the character and to this day Buffy remains a genre icon, with there having been more essays written about the Buffy series than any other.

Buffy is the most famous Vampire hunter of all time after only Van Helsing himself.

1/ Van Helsing, Peter Cushing Version (Hammer Dracula Series)

Van Helsing is the most famous Vampire hunter and by far away the greatest and most enduring version of Van Helsing is Peter Cushing’s in the Hammer Dracula series.

It was in many ways Cushing’s Van Helsing that made the character into the ultimate Vampire killer.

In the novel Van Helsing is an eccentric professor who has studied Vampires, but he does not actively hunt them. He has a normal life and does not devote his entire existence to destroying them, in fact he doesn’t even kill Dracula.

Cushing’s Van Helsing reimagined the character as someone who devotes his entire life to exterminating Vampires. He tracks them from town to town, he fights with them, he knows more about them than anyone else, he has no normal life.

This would go on to influence nearly all future interpretations of the character as well as other Vampire hunter characters such as Captain Kronos, the Winchesters and even Giles.

To this day Cushing remains more associated with the character than any other actor, so much so that in many ways his name has become associated with Vampire hunters too.

Whilst Cushing brought many iconic characters to life from Winston Smith to Victor Frankenstein, I think its safe to say that Van Helsing was really his most iconic part and for me his Van Helsing is still the greatest of all Vampire hunters.




Cult Actors 10 James Marsters

Best known for his iconic portrayal of the Vampire Spike from Buffy and its spin off Angel, Marsters has over the years managed to carve out a career for himself in sci fi and fantasy series often as villains and lovable rogues and outlaws.

He’s played everything from Vampires to Warlocks to time travelling super criminals to planet destroying androids and he’s done it all with unbelievable swagger and class.

In this article I am going to take a look at his most high profile genre roles. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting James at the MCM Comic Con in Glasgow.

He was easily one of the nicest and most chatty guests I’ve ever met at Comic Con and so its a great honour to look at the man’s greatest roles in this edition of Cult Actors.

Spike/Buffy the Vampire Slayer

James’s breakthrough role. Prior to landing the part of the bad boy, punk rock, platinum blonde Vampire, James had mostly worked on stage, though he had guest starred in a few small roles on tv such as Northern Exposure.

However it would be Spike that would launch him to international stardom. Ironically Spike was only intended to appear in a few episodes before being killed off but it was solely down to Marsters performance that Joss Whedon kept him around. It would also be a further guest performance from Marsters in Season 3 that convinced Whedon to upgrade him to a regular the following year.

In many ways Marsters performance as Spike is comparable to that of Jonathan Harris as Doctor Zachary Smith in Lost in Space and Paul Darrow as Avon in Blake’s 7 in that in all 3 cases, all actors were handed fairly bland, boring, dull characters who were either only meant to last for a short while or be minor characters. All 3 were also not exactly characters that would normally be thought of as the audience’s favourite. An evil, sadistic Vampire, a backstabbing, two faced liar, and a miserable pathetic coward who happily handed children to aliens to save his own neck.

Still in all 3 cases the actors were able to add so much more to those characters that they ended up becoming the most popular characters and subsequently stole the show.

There were many inspirations for the character of Spike such as the Vampire David from The Lost Boys played by Kiefer Sutherland. The Lost Boys was a massive influence on Buffy in general.

Whedon says however that his main inspiration for Spike and his lover Drusilla were Sid and Nancy. Marsters himself however said that he based the character on Sex Pistols front man John Lydon AKA Johnny Rotten instead. Marsters said in an interview

It was Whedon. I got cast because I loved the Sex Pistols and I knew what that was. But yeah, he was definitely a punk rock vampire. I don’t think he was Sid Vicious, though. I remember one thing I wanted to tell Joss was “I think I know the Sex Pistols better than you, I was Johnny Rotten. Coz this is Sid Vicious…have you seen the film (James goes into British impression of Sid) “Uh, girls like me coz I got a nice face and a good figure.” That was Sid. He’s totally drugged out and he doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of brain. But he’s really cute! Couldn’t play bass, couldn’t write music, but he’s really cute..and, if you threw a bottle at him, he’d laugh at you. So, yeah, whenever they said he was the Sid Vicious of vampires, I’m like NO! Johnny Lydon.

The true inspiration for Spike.

In real life James is from California, but he played the role of Spike with a cockney accent after auditioning with several different accents.

In Spike’s first appearance in the show School Hard, the third episode of season 2, he is established right away as being one of Buffy’s most dangerous enemies.

He is said to have already killed two slayers, (one of whom he made beg for her life) and he also actually bests Buffy in their first fight, with it being Buffy’s mother who saves her by hitting Spike with an axe from behind.

However what it was that really allowed Spike to make an instant impression on viewers was the fact that he was a somewhat more 3 dimensional villain than any in Buffy before.

The Master though an effective villain the previous season was aside from his father like love for Darla, nothing more than a brutal, savage monster who simply sought to destroy the world.

With Spike through his relationship with Drusilla whom he genuinely loved we saw a villain who at one minute could be even more brutal than the Master. Casually snapping the neck of a man he deemed too old to eat, but not to kill, yet at other moments he could be a genuine sweetheart to his girlfriend. Also interestingly enough Spike’s sole motivation in series 2 is to cure Drusilla rather than to try and burn the entire world down. Thus ironically as vicious and brutal as he is, he is almost a sympathetic villain in a way.

Spike also looked more human and modern than the Master too who had more demonic batlike features and he also would regularly throughout the first half of season 2 fight with Buffy and her friends head on, unlike the Master who was trapped in a sunken church throughout all of season 1 and thus was only able to face the Buffster at the very end of the season.

Spike from the very beginning was established as being something that was totally different not just to the Master but really all Vampires in Buffy at that point all of whom, (Angel the Vampire with a soul aside), had been portrayed as ugly, inhuman monsters living under the ground, shunning humanity.

This coupled with Marsters cocky, yet likable performance made the villain seem new and exciting to viewers and its not surprising that he ended up becoming a fan favourite.

Another great aspect to Spike’s character was his dry, sarcastic, gallows sense of humour. From when he first bursts on to the screen he makes jokes about getting stoned after he killed and drank a hippie at Woodstock and then there is his famous closing line as he murders the Anointed one, the Masters former second in command, which was something of a dig at the verbose, ritualistic Vampires from Season 1.

From now on there is going to be a lot less ritual and a little more fun around here”

Often the best villains can make us laugh even when doing horrible things like the Joker and again I think this aspect of Spike’s character helped to make him more popular. It was actually the characters sense of humour that convinced Joss Whedon to make him a regular in series 4, but more on that later.

I’d say my favourite appearance of Spike in season 2 was in Lie to Me where we saw Spike work with a former friend of Buffy who was dying of a brain tumour and wanted to become a Vampire simply to survive to lure her into a trap. I always liked this episode as it showed a more manipulative side to Spike. Up until now he appeared to be nothing more than just a glorified thug, but here we saw as more sly, cunning side to the villain. I also liked the scene where Spike corners a young girl who has developed a romantic, idealized view of Vampires. Where as before Spike often just relishes in the violence of the kill here he takes his time, scaring her before hand.

At the end of What’s My Line Part 2 Spike was supposed to be killed by Angel (whom he had captured in order to cure his lover Drusilla) but again the positive fan response to the character meant that he was simply crippled in a duel with Buffy instead.

For the rest of season 2 Spike would be in a wheelchair, though he along with Drusilla and later Angelus still commanded over the Vampires in Sunnydale, Spike naturally was more of a background villain from this point on in the season.

The character however was not simply forgotten about as we got to see an interesting dynamic develop between Angelus, Spike and Drusilla. To start with Spike is pleased to see his old mentor Angelus back, but gradually Angelus begins to resume his relationship with Drusilla.

I always liked the way Angelus was such a dickhead that no one liked him. The Master’s followers like Luke and Darla were genuinely loyal to him, whilst The Mayor at least had Faith, but with Angelus he is just such an unmitigated asshole even his fellow Vampires like Spike still hate his guts.

A favourite moment of mine is when Giles in revenge for what Angelus does to his lover Jenny Calender burns down the Vampire’s home and starts beating him with a flaming baseball bat and Spike actually stops Drusilla from intervening. I suppose we could consider that the first heroic thing Spike ever did, though it obviously wasn’t for altruistic reasons, more to watch a bastard he and everybody else hates get his head smashed in.

In the season finale Spike ends up forming an alliance with Buffy to take down Angelus who plans to suck the entire world into hell.

Spike teams up reluctantly with the Buffster because he wants Angel out of the picture and also because rather interestingly he also doesn’t want the world to end.

I always liked the way that Spike was a more down to earth villain in that actually he wouldn’t want the world to end anym ore than the heroes would because he actually quite likes the human world the way it is. He loves music like the Sex Pistols, football, tv shows like Passion and so naturally he doesn’t want all of that to go and be replaced by fire and brimestone and hundred foot tall Demons. Its a shallow reason for saving the earth, but just as good as any.

I think Spike’s alliance with Buffy demonstrates why he had more staying power as a character than some other villains as he wasn’t just a chaotic evil that wanted to tear the entire world to bits for the evulz. Thus it would be more believable that he might end up working with Buffy to take on a greater threat as opposed to say the Master or Adam.

Also again the fact that he puts his own relationship with Drusilla above the standard badguy plan to end the world again helps to reinforce the idea of the character being love’s bitch which will really become his defining charactetistic. The Master and Angelus are pure evil, they want to crush all of human society and destroy the world. Spike however is happy to give up a plan for world domination for a girl.

In season 3 Spike appears in just one episode called Lover’s Walk. This episode turns Spike into more of a comedy character. He has been dumped by Dru and shows up, drunken, pitiful, jilted and self pitying.

There are lots of great funny moments with Spike in this episode such as his petty jealously of Angel, burning his hand in the sun, and best of all his heart to heart with Joyce, Buffy’s mom. Its funny how Spike has never been a threat to Joyce with or without a chip or a soul (apart from in School Hard).

When he first approaches Joyce in Lovers Walk, you think that he is going to use her as a hostage against Buffy as Buffy hears him approaching on the phone and rushes home terrified. Its a hilarious twist when we find out he just went to her to whine about how hard his relationship with Dru was.

The idea of Spike being a big mummy’s boy would be expanded on in later episodes.

It was during the filming of this episode that Joss Whedon was convinced to make Spike a regular character. At that point it was known that Cordelia would be leaving Buffy to appear in Angel’s series. Joss said he needed a character who would insult and ridicule the other main characters to stop it from becoming too sappy. He felt Spike due to the way he interacted with Buffy and Angel in particular, being able to see through their bullshit about just being friends would make a good candidate for the role.

Thus once again you can see how the characters sense of humour was crucial as it was ultimately that, that convinced Joss that he would have potential as a regular. I must admit Spike was always my favourite growing up because I thought he was funny. James Marster’s dry delivery of lines such as this one to Giles, when Giles remarks that his whole life flashed before his eyes, “Life of a Watcher how did that go, cup of tea, cup of tea, cup of tea, almost got shagged, cup of tea” would always make me crack up.

I think the characters humorous qualities also helped to flesh him out more too at the same time. For instance we see a more vulnerable aspect to his personality during some of his funnier moments such as when he is baring his heart to Joyce and even in his jealousy of Angel.

In season 4 Spike initially returns as a villainous character hellbent on killing Buffy and acquiring the ring of amarra which will render any Vampire who wears it invulnerable.

Sadly this is not one of my favourite episodes, but Spike is brilliant in it at least.

Here he is given a new love interest in the shape of Harmony, an old, valley girl friend of Cordelia Chase who was turned into a Vampire.

If Spike and Dru were like a Vampire version of Sid and Nancy, then his relationship with Harmony is more comparable to the Joker and Harley Quinn in that we similarly have a sweet, somewhat bubbly, vapid blonde woman who absolutely adores the ruthless villain and even has a sickening nickname for him “blondie bear” yet he is absolutely vile to her. At one point he even stabs a stake through her heart and she only survives because she was wearing the ring of amarra.

Though Spike’s behaviour to her was reprehensible I have to say I did enjoy Spike and Harmony together only because the potential for comedy was greater with them than with he and Dru as Mercedes McNab who played Harmony was very funny too and Harmony was obviously a much lighter character than Drusilla.

Spike’s final showdown with Buffy in The Harsh Light of Day is also their best fight throughout the series. Its incredibly brutal and Spike is more vicious than ever throughout it the way he taunts her, though I love the way just when he thinks he’s won he says the wrong thing about Angel that pisses her off so much she beats the crap out of him in like 5 seconds.

The best thing I can say about The Harsh Light of Day is that it leads into the Angel episode In the Dark, when Buffy sends the ring to Angel in LA and Spike follows Oz who delivers it there. This is one of my favourite episodes of both series. I always loved Spike and Angel together and the scenes where Spike captures and tortures Angel are brilliant because they are so tense yet at certain points quite funny too. I’ll talk more about this episode later however when I explore Spike’s time on Angel.

I remember after The Harsh Light of Day and In the Dark aired hoping every week that Spike would be back on either show and being disappointed when his name didn’t come up among the guest stars at the start.

Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long as Spike popped up just a few episodes later in Wild at Heart where he was captured by the initiative, a secret underground organisation designed to track down monsters and demons and experiment on them.

Again this scene can be seen as an example of the great comedy potential with the character as its quite funny watching Spike declare from a distance that the big bad is back and how he is going to make Buffy pay only to be effortlessly overpowered and dragged away by the Initiative.

In the next episode Spike manages to escape from their clutches and very nearly kills Willow before he discovers that he can’t hurt anyone any more as the initiative when he was knocked out stuck a chip in his head that causes him pain whenever he tries to hurt someone.

Thus unable to hunt and kill Spike eventually is forced to seek the help of his former enemies who only agree to shelter him because they wish to find out more about the Initiative.

Later when Spike discovers that the chip does not prevent him from hurting Demons he becomes something of a less reluctant ally. He doesn’t care what side he is fighting on just so long as he can fight.

Despite this however Spike really remains a villain throughout series 4. He only does a few genuinely heroic things throughout the series such as helping Giles when he becomes a Demon which he only does when Giles pays him.

He also works with the main villain of the series Adam who promises to remove the chip from his head as long as he helps him break apart the Scoobies. Its quite interesting the way that here Spike in contrast to season 2 is actually helping to bring about the end of the world.

I don’t see this as a contradiction however as ultimately I think Spike’s main motivation in helping Buffy in season 2 was to get Dru away from Angel as later when he sees Buffy cornered by Angel seemingly with no way of surviving, he leaves her to die. If he really cared about saving the world he would have surely rushed in there and stopped Angel. Clearly it was of secondary importance to him as he had got what he really wanted IE Drusilla away from Angel.

Thus here Spike is willing to sacrifice the world to get what he wants, being a savage killer again.

I think Spike is at his best on season 4 of Buffy. I think they play to all of the strengths of the character this year. In his appearances as a villain, he is a brutal monster who is shown to be more than capable of besting Buffy in close combat and is also a lot more cunning than people give him credit for such as when he turns the Scoobies against each other by exploiting all of their insecurities and hang ups with each other.

At the same time when not a villain they play to the characters other great strength, his sense of humour. There are many funny moments between Spike and other characters such as Giles, Xander and Willow such as when he first approaches the Scoobies for help or when he can’t bite Willow and Willow who has recently split up with her boyfriend and thus is naturally feeling low and down thinks its because she is unattractive.

Willow : Maybe you’re trying too hard. Doesn’t this happen to every vampire?

Spike : Not to me, it doesn’t!

Willow : It’s me, isn’t it?

Spike : What are you talking about?

Willow : Well, you came looking for Buffy, then settled. I–I… You didn’t want to bite me. I just happened to be around.

Spike : Piffle!

Willow : I know I’m not the kind of girl vamps like to sink their teeth into. It’s always like, “ooh, you’re like a sister to me,” or, “oh, you’re such a good friend.”

Spike : Don’t be ridiculous. I’d bite you in a heartbeat.

Willow : Really?

Spike sits on her bed again.

Spike : Thought about it.

Willow : When?

Spike : Remember last year, you had on that… Fuzzy pink number with the lilac underneath?

Willow : I never would have guessed. You played the blood-lust kinda cool.

Spike : Mmm. I hate being obvious. All fang-y and “rrrr!” Takes the mystery out.

Willow : But if you could...

Spike : If I could, yeah.

Willow : You know, this doesn’t make you any less terrifying.

Spike : Don’t patronize me.

I always loved this scene as I think it showed you the type of people Spike and Willow really are.

Spike is kind of like Satan from South Park in that deep down he is a nice person, but he has to be evil because that’s his job. Satan in South Park is quite a nice, passive, sweet, sensitive guy, but he has to be evil simply because that’s the role he has in the universe.

Similarly Spike before he became a Vampire was a nice, nerdy, sensitive guy but obviously when he became a Vampire he naturally became a blood thirsty monster and so he feels inclined to kill Willow, but when he sees her hurting and feeling low he also tries to cheer her up and reassure her that she is attractive and any guy would be lucky to have her, because that’s just the type of guy he is underneath the whole being a Vampire thing.

Similarly Willow is also naturally nice and sensitive person so she ends up feeling sorry for him ironically when he is upset because he can’t kill her! Of course eventually she realises how utterly absurd the situation is and smashes a lamp over his head.

Finally I also liked Spike in series 4 the best because we also saw what a self server he was. Again that’s always been a large part of what makes the character so charismatic that he just does whatever the hell he wanted. It fitted his rebellious, punk rocker, Johnny Rotten style persona and Marsters cocky, confident swagger too.

In series 4 Spike is a chronic backstabber. I always loved it when he escapes from the Initiative and he casually tosses the Vampire who helped him get free into the Initiative’s clutches. It was such a low, dirty, cowardly thing to do, but again Spike still seems cool when he does it unlike say Doctor Smith from Lost in Space.

Then there is also his betrayal of the Scoobies to Adam and when that doesn’t work out his attempts to weasel back in with them when he saves them from a large bestial Demon.

A part of me wishes the character had remained this way for the rest of the show, but sadly as we know the next year Joss and the writers would attempt to make Spike a more genuinely heroic character by having him fall in love with Buffy.

As a child I hated this development. It was a shame watching my favourite character become such a pansy. Spike went from becoming the sarcastic, witty, self server to a lovestruck, sappy, emo pathetic sap who always got the shit kicked out of him.

The beatings and the torture he goes through definitely increase after he falls for Buffy.

Now that I am older I can appreciate certain things about the Buffy/Spike romance, and obviously like it or hate it was unquestionably one of the most successful storylines in the shows history with the viewers.

As James himself said what was interesting about it was that you were never quite sure how Spike’s love for Buffy was going to motivate him. On the one hand it could perhaps lead to him genuinely becoming a good person and he does do some heroic things throughout the season, yet at the same time because he is ultimately a Vampire and thus evil his love for Buffy also drives him to do some seriously twisted and creepy things too.

At various points in season 5 the viewers feelings change for Spike. At times he’s pitiful. The way he a Vampire has actually fallen in love with a Slayer! Someone he has spent the past 5 years trying to kill, who is basically his archnemesis. Its a hideously cruel irony for him.

At other times however he does things like taser Buffy, chain her up, and threaten to let Drusilla a dangerous Vampire loose and eat her!

Just when you are on the brink of feeling sorry for him or just when you think he is beyond redemption he manages to completely subvert the viewers expectations.

The greatest example of this is in the episode Intervention where at first Spike has never seemed more pathetic. He forces Warren to build a robot replica of Buffy to have sex with over and over again. The character has gone from seeming like a Johnny Rotten style, bad boy rebel who does whatever he wants to just a sad git with a blow up doll basically.

Then he ends up getting captured by Glory and her minions and is subject to horrific torture and ends up having never seemed more heroic and noble. Spike refuses to tell Glory who the key is, in reality Buffy’s sister Dawn in order to protect her from Glory a near unstoppable villain. Even when Glory is pulling his guts out with her finger, smashing him through a wall, cutting bits of his flesh off and threatening to slice his balls off, Spike still spits back in her face and refuses to break.

Once again just when the character has never seemed so sad and pathetic he ends the episode in the most heroic way possible and even earns a kiss from Buffy as a result of having almost been tortured to death to save Buffy.

Whilst Spike became more of a pansy from S5 on he definitely did become a more unpredictable character and its true that he was also given more screen time too. In series 4 the writers sometimes struggled in giving him a role as he was an outsider to the rest of the gang and therefore had no reason to help them. It would have been unfeasable for the Spike of season 4 to have skipped town with the Scoobies at the end of season 5, and obviously the Spike of season 4 would have told Glory the truth about Dawn in a heartbeat.

Spike’s love for Buffy helped him become an actual part of the Scooby Gang and thus take more of a central role in the series

Still having said that I do still have some problems with the Spuffy romance. To start with I think that Spike became a lot less funny when he fell for Buffy. There were still some funny moments with characters like Xander and Giles but by and large he is a more angsty character who tends to whinge on about love and his feelings when he used to get all the best lines.

Also I feel that by making Spike fall in love with Buffy they were kind of changing Spike into something he was not. I know that from the start Spike had always been a hopeless romantic, but making him Buffy’s love interest just seemed like they were turning him into another version of Angel.

Joss Whedon has always said that it was obvious that Spike was in love with Buffy since season 2, but he just didn’t realise it until season 5, but I am afraid I don’t agree.

There is NOTHING to suggest that Spike is in love with Buffy in seasons 2-4 apart from one tiny scene where Faith in Buffy’s body comes on to Spike. Even then though I never felt that that scene showed that Spike was in love with Buffy. I always felt that in that scene if anything Spike seemed uncomfortable and more surprised than anything else.

Still other than that one scene there is really nothing at all to suggest that Spike is secretely in love with her other than the school boy thing of Spike is only obsessed with killing her because he really wants to shag her.

Really I am sick of that school of thought nowadays that has to take over every fucking feud between a villain and a hero. The villain says he wants to kill the hero, but some fans think that he actually wants to shag the hero instead (as apparently that’s the only way that you can be obsessed with someone) and the creators then cave and rewrite the villain into being in love with the hero.

Ultimately Spike’s love for Buffy literally comes right out of nowhere at the start of season 5 and her feelings for him in season 6 literally come right out of nowhere too.

Really I think that Joss just wanted another Vampire love story when he realised pairing Buffy off with a normal guy like Riley didn’t work. Thus Spike went from being well Spike to Angel mark 2, and he even ended up getting a soul too!

Really for the last 3 series of Buffy, Spike becomes more and more like Angel and less like Spike until by season 7 he is almost a mini Angel, which is a shame as I liked him better when he was Spike.

Thus there were good and bad things about Spike’s infatuation with Buffy. On the one hand it did flesh the character out in some ways and make him much more unpredictable, but on the other it did change him into being in some ways a completely different character and it also limited the characters potential for comedy.

In season 6 Spike and Buffy enter into a twisted, sado masochistic relationship which eventually culminates in Spike trying to rape an injured Buffy.

This scene is without doubt the most controversial in the entire history of the show.  James Marsters himself hated doing the scene and has gone on record as saying that he would never do another scene like it again.

“That was the hardest day of my life. I have turned roles down because they are rapists. It’s something I don’t even want to watch. If I even click on it on TV, I have to click it off or I’ll put my foot through the screen… What you see on that screen is just my terror at having to do that scene. There’s not really any acting going on and I haven’t watched the scene. I’ve seen little clips. You know, ‘previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ They show it sometimes and I’m always like, ‘Oh, God.’ … The writers are fabulous, but when I showed up on set that day I told them: ‘Sometimes you guys just don’t know what you do. You just do not know what you’re asking us…’ I’m proud of it artistically, but as a human being I never, never, never want to do a scene like that again and I will always refuse because I know what it does to me.”

I too have mixed feelings about this scene as obviously it is incredibly uncomfortable to watch, but at the same time I feel that it did do a good job of establishing that a soulless Spike is truly beyond redemption.

Up until now the writers had played around with the idea that maybe Spike could change as we would see him do heroic things, even just little moments where we saw how much he cared about Buffy’s little sister Dawn that suggested he had changed. Then they would do something that would make you think he hadn’t such as in Smashed where he believes his chip isn’t working and the first thing he does is try and rip the throat out of a young woman.

Still it was always left open as to whether or not Spike could change, but this scene just showed us once and for all that actually he hadn’t. At the end of the day he was an evil, ruthless Vampire who had no soul and thus in the end he would always be a monster. Even to Buffy the woman he loved more than anything he still tries to rape her, and what’s most disturbing about that scene is the way that Spike doesn’t even realise what he is doing. Hurting someone just comes so naturally to him, that when he starts to rape Buffy, to him its like putting onhis coat!

Thus this scene once and for all shows us that Spike can never be trusted and should always be viewed as a monster as no one not even Buffy is safe from him.

This of course then leads brilliantly into the last episode of the season where Spike wins his soul back in the Demon trials.

Once again Spike manages to surprise the viewers. Just when we think there is no hope for the character, that he has sunk as low as he possibly can and is a monster through and through he gains a soul which changes everything. Now he can feel guilt for what he has done, now there is a genuine ability to change and so once again our feelings to the character change in an instant.

Series 7 I think sadly was Spike’s weakest series. As I said I feel he was more Angel in this series than Spike. Just about every story arc he had this season had been done with Angel before, being a tormented Vampire with a soul who is driven mad by the guilt of his evil crimes, going evil again and then wanting to die to avoid going evil again, being haunted by the First Evil, being in love with Buffy, and even having to deal with a guy whose loved one he killed and who has now become a Vampire hunter, Holtz, Wood.

Added to that all traces of Spike’s trademark humour, his self interest, even his love of brawling are apart from a few instances all gone this year.

I remember reading an interview with Paul Darrow who played Avon on Blake’s 7 who was a similar character to Spike in that he was the sarcastic, ruthless anti hero where he said that after Blake, the shows more heroic character left, the writers tried to make Avon into a more straight forward good guy to replace him, but Darrow argued with them and fortunately they decided against it.

I think that’s what happened with Spike in the later years of Buffy in regards to them making him more like Angel sadly.

Of course that’s not to say that Spike didn’t have great moments in series 7. It was interesting watching he and Buffy develop a more caring and close relationship and in the end it was great watching Spike finally redeem himself and save the world.

Joss Whedon himself has said that he considers Spike to be his most well developed character as he went from being the lowest of the low, a perverted rapist to a champion saving the world and sacrificing himself. When Spike burns up saving the world it was a sad moment for me, even though I knew he was coming back on Angel the next year. It would have been unthinkable just a year earlier to have felt any kind of sadness when a character like Spike who tried to rape the woman he loved died, which is a testament to how much Spike changed from one season to the next.

Whilst I may not be the biggest fan of the Spike and Buffy relationship overall I can’t deny that Spike’s story arc from start to finish is fascinating to watch. He goes from a vicious, blood thirsty monster to a pitiful drunken sap, to a Eric Cartman, Dr Smith, Avon style character IE an utter self serving bastard that all of the other characters hate, yet the audience loves, to a lovesick, anti hero, to a creepy loathsome pervert, to a tormented, guilt ridden character, to finally a noble champion.

James it must be said absolutely excelled at capturing all the aspects of Spike’s character from his humour, to his love of violence, to his twisted obsession with Buffy, to his guilt when he had a soul,  James exhibited an incredible versatility with this one character alone and really made him what he was.

Of course fortunately despite his death the character of Spike would live on even past Buffy when he later crossed over onto the spin off show Angel.


Spike appeared as a regular on only one season of Angel, though he also made a few guest appearances before hand.

Despite the fact that he was in less of Angel in some ways I actually preferred Spike on this show than on Buffy.

I have always loved Spike and Angel’s relationship with each other. David Boreanaz who plays Angel and James Marsters have excellent chemistry with each other, but the characters also have such a long and fascinating history to draw on too that stretches back over 100 years.

Spike first appeared in the third episode of the entire series, In the Dark, which is actually my favourite appearance of Spike as a villain.

This episode sees Spike with the aid of a sadistic, demented, child devouring Vampire capture Angel in order to torture him for the location of the ring.

I always loved everything about this episode. To start with Spike as always is hilarious right the way through it. Whether that’s him calling Buffy slutty the vampire slayer, going on about Angel’s caveman brow or after his ally betrays him and steals the ring his macho bullshit speech right before he walks under a patch of sunlight and his hair goes on fire!

However best of all is his speech mocking Angel from a rooftop after Angel saves a young girl from her abusive boyfriend.

The best thing about this scene is that its true! Watch the scene at the end of season 2 where Angel first saves Fred. It plays out like Spike’s little impression beat for beat the way she fawns over him and goes on about “handsome man saved me from the monsters” and the way he spends the next two episodes doing nothing but working up a lot of sexual tension with her.

At the same time I also feel Spike is more vicious here than he was on Buffy. On Buffy he was often only a physical threat to her, but in Angel its much more personal due to their history and what’s interesting is that during the torture session the one time he seems to really come close to actually hurting Angel is when he hurts him emotionally by letting him know that Buffy has moved on rather quickly.

Sadly it would be another almost 5 years before Spike and Angel would share the screen properly after this episode not counting the odd flashback. Spike would appear very fleetingly in the season 2 Angel episode Darla, though actually only one tiny scene was not just a reprise of scenes from the Buffy season 5 episode Fool for Love.

When Spike finally did become a regular on Angel season 5 I thought it really gave the show a tremendous boost and to be honest Season 5 would have to be my favourite series overall largely because of Spike’s inclusion.

Spike and Angel on screen is just dynamite for this whole season. You’d think that at this point because Spike was now another Vampire with a soul that he might threaten to undermine Angel, but instead he gave Angel arguably a better foil than ever before.

From a dramatic point of view there were some excellent moments between the two such as their final showdown in Destiny which is easily one of my favourite episodes of Angel. Then of course there are some absolutely excellent comedic moments too such as Angel and Spike’s tense argument about who would win in a fight between astronauts and cavemen, their petty dispute over who has saved the world more often and best of all when Angel is transformed into a Puppet by a spell and he tries to keep it a secret from everyone, but unfortunately Spike the last person he wants to see him like this walks in.

You can tell even when he is getting his ass kicked Spike is still loving this.

Spike I think was a better fit for Angel as when he was with Angel he got to be Spike again.

Despite having a soul and being in love with Buffy Spike is far more in line with his s2-4 incarnation in Angel s5. He is a funny, cocky, self serving anti hero. Obviously he isn’t evil, but basically he is the same type of character as he was before and I think that’s because when he is with Angel there is obviously a greater opportunity for comedy due to their adversarial relationship. With Buffy whilst Spike was obviously an effective villain, after he became chipped I think they didn’t really know what to do with him as he had no real relationship with Buffy or chemistry other than simply hating her, hence why they made him fall in love with her just to give him some kind of dynamic with the hero.

On Angel meanwhile he already had an established history and relationship with the main character and it was one that lent itself to comedy that the character was best at. Personally I wish that Spike had more time with Angel. Joss Whedon himself has said his biggest regret about Angel ending after its 5th season was that they didn’t get more of Spike and Angel together. James Marsters himself has said that he felt that he could do more on Angel than on Buffy due to the characters relationship with the titular hero.

Whilst I definitely prefer Spike on Angel I am glad that we got him as a regular on both shows however as it was interesting watching how he had a completely different dynamic with the two heroes.

On Buffy, Spike was a much more, romantic, tragic, tortured character as a result of his relationship with Buffy. He and Buffy are like Sid and Nancy a destructive, violent couple who are poison for each other, yet still drawn to one another regardless.

On Angel meanwhile he was a much more comical, lighter, at times even quite petty character as a result of his relationship with Angel. He and Angel are like two squabbling brothers, a Vampire version of Frasier and Niles. You have the taller, older one who has done everything first, getting a soul, saving the world, falling in love with Buffy, and the smaller, blonde one who is resentful and always trying to out do him.

As to which one you prefer I suppose at the end of the day it all depends on whether you prefer a tragic, destructive love story in which case you will obviously prefer Spike and Buffy.

Or if you prefer the funnier, brotherly rivalry then you’d probably prefer the Spike/Angel dynamic, which I did.

Its good that we had two such very different and strong dynamics.

I think Spike is comparable to Ares from the Xena/Hercules franchise. Its no secret that Joss Whedon was a big fan of Xena and drew inspiration from them. When you look at Ares he is really the same type of character as Spike. He is a cocky, arrogant, yet lovable rogue who switches between being a villain, a hero and an anti hero. On the show starring a female lead, Xena much like Spike he is a more romantic, conflicted character as he is hopelessly in love with Xena and regularly tries to win her over which much like Spike leads to him doing some admirable things such as giving up his godhood to save Xena’s daughter and some deplorable things such as threatening her daughter unless she gives him a child. Xena much like Buffy denies having feelings for him despite always being drawn to him at the same time. On the show with  a male hero, Hercules meanwhile Ares is a much lighter, more comical character as his feud with the male hero is more petty and jealous.

Thus I think if we were to compare any character to Spike then it would be Ares more than any other.

At the end of Angel series 5 Spike is last shown charging into battle with Angel and the rest of the team. His ultimate fate is left open, but the canonical comic book continuations of both Angel and Buffy have shown that he and Angel survived and Spike has continued to aid both heroes.

After Angel ended there was talk of a DVD movie starring Spike, but sadly nothing came of this. Before he crossed over into Angel there was also talk of a spin off featuring Spike and Faith, but sadly nothing came of this either due to Eliza Dushku starring on the short lived Tru Calling instead.

I am glad in a way that Faith and Spike never happened as I did love Spike on Angel so much, but still at the same time Spike and Faith are my two favourite characters and as seen in season 7 the two did have good chemistry together. The scene of the two of them bonding was apparently done to see if they would work together in a series.

I wish they had done Spike and Faith after Angel season 5 as I think it could have been an excellent series but sadly on tv Not Fade Away proved to be the last outing for the Vampire, though fortunately the last episode of Angel was a truly classic episode and thus Spike at least finished on a high.

With Spike James created a truly iconic character. Again whilst credit must go to the writers for creating an interesting character it was ultimately James who every step of the way added to it in such a way that the writers kept him going, from being a minor villain who was supposed to be killed after 6 episodes to a recurring villain to a main cast member on two different series!

For Spike alone James would always have a special place in genre fans hearts. I remember saying to James that being Spike alone was amazing never mind Torchwood and Smallville and James jokingly said “well I guess I’m greedy“.

Milton Fine/ Brainiac/ Smallville

James was cast as the iconic Superman villain for the 5th season of Smallville.

At first glance Brainiac seemed like a similar character to Spike, another badass in a black long coat who enjoyed kicking the crap out of people.

However under the surface Brainiac is actually the complete opposite to Spike. He’s a completely cold, emotionless villain who ironically chastises Bizarro for falling in love. He also in contrast to Spike prefers to use manipulation and trick people rather than brute force. Though Spike could be crafty too, he generally preferred just to rush head first into violent confrontations. Also whilst a key aspect of Spike’s character was his wonderful sarcastic sense of humour, Brainiac in contrast is completely serious and dour.

Thus whilst it was in essence another charismatic villainous role, ultimately I feel that Brainiac was a totally different character to Spike.

Brainiac is the main antagonist throughout the 5th season of Smallville. He is an android/computer programme that was corrupted by Zod a Kryptonian super criminal before his imprisonment.

Brainiacs goal throughout season 5 is to free Zod from his imprisonment and help him take over the earth. Throughout the series he is shown to succeed in manipulating both Clark Kent and Lex Luthor, with Clark only surviving his first encounter with Brainiac thanks to the intervention of Chloe.

James excels at playing the icey, ruthless villain just as much as he did the vicious thug. His Brainiac does genuinely seem as though he is in control of every situation around him as he has absolutely no doubts and worries about his plans failing, nor does he ever show any fear of anyone around him either, even Clark. Of course this often proves to be his undoing, but still the character is often wiley enough to turn most situations around to be for his benefit.

Whilst Marsters role was originally intended to extend to season 6, sadly he was busy with other commitments and thus the character had to be abruptly killed off at the end of Season 5, though with his dying breath he manages to finally free Zod.

Fortunately the character would return in season 7, once again as the main antagonist. It was revealed that a small peace of him had survived and he is eventually able to regenerate from that.

However even then he is nowhere near as powerful as he once was and thus throughout the series he tries to murder Clark simply for his own survival. We also see a much more openly sadistic side to his personality in this season. Its underplayed but there are little moments that hint that he enjoys hurting people such as when he corners Chloe.

Ultimately Brainiac pushes Clark too far in Season 7 finale and he ends up literally tearing the villain to bits.

Brainiac would return in series 8, but he was not played by James as Brainiac ended up taking over Chloe Sullivan’s body and thus Brainiac was played Alison Mack instead, though James did still return as the voice of Brainiac before he takes over Chloe.

James would get a chance to return in the 10th and final series where it is revealed that after he was taken into the future by the Legion of Superheroes he was reprogrammed for good once again. A reformed Brainiac helps to put Clark back on the path to redemption as a thank you to Clark for saving him.

Thus whilst Brainiac may have been a very different type of villain to Spike, ultimately his story arc ended in a similar way with Brainiac finally redeeming himself and saving the main hero.

I quite liked the way that Brainiac’s story was brought full circle as he was originally created to be a force for good in the universe until Zod corrupted him and turned him into a monster. My only problem with this was that technically Brainiac’s story was finished before Clark becomes Superman!

This was always a problem with Smallville in general though. It really should have finished in season 5 as Smallville and then continue on as Superman the early years. The whole point of the show was that it showed us what happened before Clark became Superman, but by season 5 he was already beginning to do things that he does as Superman and by season 10 it was ridiculous that he hadn’t put on the suit.

Basically the Smallville universe Superman does everything except battle Lex that he is supposed to do before he actually becomes Superman!

Still that gripe aside overall I liked the Smallville Brainiac. I’d say he was the best villain in the entire series. Lex and Lionel were better characters overall, but I’d say that Brainiac was the best enemy to Clark in the show as he was the most menacing and had the most screen presence.

Captain John Hart/ Torchwood

James played this villainous character in 3 episodes of Torchwood throughout its second season.

This character was in many ways a rehash of Spike. He was a violent, sexy, sociopath who revels in violence and even speaks in the same cockney accent as Spike!

Still despite this he was lots of fun nonetheless. He served as more of a classical nemesis to Captain Jack which was something that was lacking from the first series, a really strong single enemy for the crew. The only recurring foe for the team who wasn’t a CGI monster was Bilis Manger who didn’t really have enough screen time to make an impact.

James swashbuckling, sex addicted, time travelling criminal certainly made a big impression on the team right away and he proved to be a very effective villain not just because of his violent unpredictable nature, but also his personal ties to Captain Jack as well.

In the final episode of season 2 it is revealed in a surprise twist that Hart is not the true villain of the piece as he is being forced into attacking the team by Jack Harkness’s evil brother Grey. Though John is still amoral as he ultimately ends up killing several people on Grey’s orders just to save his own skin (Grey had strapped a bomb to his arm) ultimately he does come back and help the Torchwood team once Grey lets him go and he is shown to express disgust over Grey burying Jack alive and even tries to stop him at a risk to his own life until Jack intervenes.

Its a shame that James didn’t get a chance to develop this character further as it would have been interesting to see where they would have gone with John who on the surface seemed like absolute evil, but who still clearly did still have some tiny form of a conscience at least.

Sadly however Hart did not appear in any further series of Torchwood. Both series 3 and 4 of Torchwood had very tight story arcs and there simply would have been no room for Hart’s character. Sadly after series 4 Torchwood took an indefinite hiatus, but still Marsters may one day reprise the character in one of the Big Finish Audios as he does have a real love for the role.

Though he was only in three episodes he still remains without doubt the most popular and iconic villain from the series.

Don Stark/ Supernatural

James guest starred in an episode of Season 7 of Supernatural opposite former Buffy actress Charisma Carpenter. They are two of a number of Buffy actors who have appeared in Supernatural as its creators were huge fans of Buffy.

Don Stark initially seems like just a normal guy whose wife played by Charisma Carpenter is an evil witch trying to kill someone Don had an affair with. Later in the episode it is revealed that in a great twist Don is a Warlock who is killing people too.

This episode has always been a favourite of mine as James and Charisma who have always had great comic timing are just so funny together. Really the episode despite its gruesome murders is more of a comedy episode and its quite cool the way that James and Charisma are just about the only two villains in the series that the Winchesters never beat.

Sam and Dean get their asses kicked and the only thing they are able to do to stop them from killing everyone is fix their marriage.

Victor Hesse/ Hawai 5-0

James played this villainous character throughout the first two seasons of Hawai 5-0.

Hesse was more of a standard villain, just evil through and through, but James was still excellent in the role and the character was a very effective villain in the early episodes of the series. Ruthless, determined, and vicious, but I think it was a shame that they killed him off in the first episode of the second series.

It seemed like they were setting him up to be a main villain and then he was just killed which was a bit of a waste of James, but still overall a great performance from James.

Other Roles

James has played Buzz Aldrin in the tv movie Moonshot The Flight of Apollo 11, he also played the serial killer Ted Bundy in the acclaimed mini series The Capture of the Green River Killer.

Among his other genre roles include guest appearances in series like Andromeda, Star Wars The Clone Wars animated series, Warehouse 13, The Witches of East End and Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated. He also had a recurring role as Barnabas Greely in Caprica. James also played the main villain Lord Piccolo in Dragon Ball Evolution, though sadly the movie was a dismal failure.

He has also provided the voices for Mr Fantastic in the animated series The Super Hero Squad Show and Lex Luthor in the animated movie Superman Brainiac Attacks which was very well received.

James’s extensive career in genre series has led to him to be dubbed “the obvious go to guy for US cult television” by the media.

Aside from his acting career James is also an accomplished singer.songwriter. He has released two solo albums Civilised Man and Like a Waterfall and four albums with the band With Ghost of the Robot, Mad Brilliant, B-Sider, Murphy’s Law, and Bourgeois Faux Pas. He has also gone on many tours both solo and With Ghost of the Robot around the world too.

Thanks for reading.

7 Actresses Who Could Play Xena


It was announced recently that Xena the Warrior Princess will be rebooted over 20 years after the series first debuted.

Very soon there may well be a whole new generation of young fangirls performing the Xena war cry.

Nothing is known about the reboot yet in terms of casting so we can only speculate as to who may be involved, but still in this article I am going to offer 7 suggestions for who I think could be great as one of the most iconic television characters of all time.

Lucy Lawless is pretty big shoes to fill and I must admit at first I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a remake for that reason, but the way I see it if its good, great it will bring a whole new generation of fans to he series and if its crap well then the original still stands as the classic it is.

All of these actresses I think would do the role justice.

Jill Wagner

Jill has the right build and gravitas for Xena and she has plenty of experience playing action roles in fantasy series such as Teen Wolf and Blade the Series.

I can see her take on the character being much darker than Lucy’s which might benefit the show depending on what direction they were going in.

Xena could be both camp and very dark much like Batman and perhaps this remake will focus solely on the darker elements of the character such as certain versions of Batman have over the years.

Jill would probably be the best choice for a grittier take on Xena that focuses more on her brutal past and her blood feud with Callisto.

Jill is most famous for playing the psychopathic villainous Werewolf hunter Kate Argent in Teen Wolf. Her character was the constant tormentor of protagonist Derek Hale throughout the first season. Not only did she kill his family but she tortured him A LOT!

Poor Derek. It seems he didn’t do anything in series one but get tortured and beaten up by Kate.

The only reason you wouldn’t cast Kate as Xena is because she might be perfect as one of the villains of the series instead. She would be excellent as Alti, one of Xena’s archenemies in particular. Still I can also see her giving us a much grittier and darker version of the Warrior Princess herself.

Rachel Shelley

An English character actress best known for her role as Helena Peabody in The L Word (where she acted alongside Lucy Lawless herself). Rachel has had a consistent career on both sides of the Atlantic, but she has only ever really played guest or supporting roles which is a shame as I think she is a very good actress who could carry a series if given the chance.

She certainly looks the every inch the perfect Xena with her raven hair and piercing blue eyes and I think she would be able to handle the physical aspects of the role too.

The original and the second Xena together perhaps?

Katrina Law

Best known for her roles as Mira in Spartacus Blood and Sand and Vengeance as well as Nyssa Al Ghul in Arrow.

She’s already shown promise in both roles, with Mia in particular being one of the most well developed characters across the series as we see her go from a meek slave girl to a warrior in her own right.

I’d imagine that she would similarly be able to develop Xena in an interesting way as well as capture the various different sides to her personality.

Dawn Steele

A ridiculously underrated actress. Dawn is probably best known for her role as Lexie MacDonald in Monarch of the Glen though she has also appeared in other high profile British series such as Wild at Heart. She currently stars as Doctor Annie Jandhu in River City.

She is completely unknown to American audiences but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all Lucy Lawless herself was a total unknown when she was cast as Xena. Sometimes casting an unknown in a big role like Xena or the Doctor can work as it can allow the actor to blend into the role more easily.

Dawn is excellent at playing strong, complex and sexy characters as seen with her role as Annie alone. Also as you can see physically she is a great choice for Xena as she bares a rather startling physical resemblance to Lucy Lawless.

Katee Sackhoff

Already a genre queen thanks to her performance as Lieutenant Kara Starbuck Thrace in Battlestar Gallactica, Katee could play a role like Xena in her sleep at this point!

She’d have to dye her hair for the part however. Xena must always have dark hair in my opinion. A blonde Xena would just wouldn’t look right.

Jennifer Connelly

A highly respected and talented actress, Connelly has the right look and build, though she is quite small at only 5 foot 5 inches. She is a lot older than the other actresses on this list, but I actually think that would work in her favour.

The thing about Lucy Lawless was she actually wasn’t old enough to have lived the life that Xena was supposed too. Lucy Lawless was 27 years old when she first played Xena and thus it felt a little bit jarring when they gave her so much backstory as it feels like she would have had to have lived at least another 20 years in order to have done all of those things.

To start with her son Solon was 14 years old when he first appeared (so Xena would have to have been 13 when she had him!) Also Callisto’s family were meant to have been killed by Xena when Callisto was a little girl and Xena was the head of an army. Thing is Hudson Leick is the same age as Lucy Lawless so unless we assume that Xena was the head of an army when she was 7 then it can be safely assumed that Xena is much older than the 27 year old actress who played her.

Thus casting an older actress in the part might actually work better. It doesn’t seem likely that Connelly will play Xena, and I can see why out of all the choices on this list she probably seems like the odd one out, but still I think she would be good as an older more mature version of the Warrior Princess.

Ingrid Oliver

Ingrid Oliver is easily one of my favourite people. She is an incredibly versatile and sadly somewhat under appreciated actresses in the United Kingdom. She is best known for her comedy double act Watson and Oliver and for guest starring in other series such as Peep Show and Doctor Who.

I think she would be an excellent choice for the warrior princess for a number of reasons.

First of all she can play strong, aggressive characters brilliantly such as Natalie, one of my favourite performances of hers in Peep Show. Natalie is a butch tomboy that the main characters Mark and Jeremy think is a lesbian, but she later ends up raping Mark whilst he is asleep.

You can see how from this she could play a similarly aggressive and tough Xena.

Ingrid also has a natural flair for comedy too. You can see this in her performances in Watson and Oliver and in Doctor Who where she played the nervous, shy, cute, sweet natured Osgood. She was able to cope with the more serious aspects of Osgood’s character too obviously but at the same time she was able to inject a certain comical shyness into the character which just made her all the more endearing. Osgood and Natalie demonstrate her versatility alone as both are literally polar opposites. I reckon Mark would have liked Osgood better than Natalie.

I think Ingrid much like Lucy Lawless could capture the zany humour of the character perfectly as well as the darker qualities.

Personally I think Ingrid would be the best choice for the role of Xena.

My dream cast for this reboot would be Ingrid as Xena, Margot Robbie as Callisto, Jill Wagner as Alti, Colin O’Donoghue as Autolycus, Katie McGrath as Velasca, Michael Sheen as Cesar and Tom Ellis as Ares.

Look at him in Merlin where he played basically the same character, a cocky, egotistical guy with long hair who fought with a psycho screaming blonde all the time.

I must admit I am not sure about who could play Gabrielle and Joxer however?

Still whilst Ingrid would be my number 1 choice for Xena I think all 7 of these actresses would have something to bring to the role and I’d be happy with any of them. Let me know what you think in the comments and please tell me any suggestions you have for Xena and other characters in the series.